Wine of the week: Robert Biale, 2017 R.W. Moore Vineyard, Napa Valley Zinfandel
Are you a zin-lover who's planning to make your yearly pilgrimage to the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocate & Producers) ZinEX Grand Tasting this Saturday? Or perhaps you're a zin fanatic who can't make the trek this year. Either way, our Press Democrat pre-ZinEX tasting will pique your interest.
From a generous outpouring of zins, there was every incarnation imaginable, from lean to powerhouse and everything in-between.
The standout was a bottling that seemed to find middle ground –– the Robert Biale, 2017 R.W. Moore Vineyard, Napa Valley Zinfandel at $60. The Biale is dense yet elegant, which seems like an impossible feat. A blockbuster with grace? But winemaker Tres Goetting knows what he's doing by cultivating balance with his intense, full throttle fruit. This striking zin has layered aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, herbs and a hint of toffee. It's a knockout.
“For this particular wine, I rely solely on the vineyard and Mother Nature,” Goetting said.
The winemaker said it's the old vines in the R.W. Moore Vineyard, dating back to 1905, that deserve the credit.
“Old vines are like people,” Goetting explained. “With age they become more refined, more sophisticated and more elegant. Young vines are rougher around the edges. They have a more angular fruit profile. There's something about it that's impossible to explain, but that's the mystery that I love.”
Zinfandel, Goetting said, is not only misunderstood, it's underappreciated by consumers.
“I don't think that most people realize that zinfandel –– when grown and produced properly –– can make very beautiful, elegant and sophisticated wines that are dry and not too high in alcohol,” he said.
Goetting, 48, joined Napa's Robert Biale Vineyards in 2013. He graduated from Humboldt State University in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Sciences. Goetting's credits include a stint at St. Helena's St. Clement and Ladera Winery as well as at Napa's Krupp Brothers.
“I like to make zinfandels that have finesse, and I try to simulate a Burgundian winemaking approach,” Goetting said. “I do it because I want the wine to taste like the vineyard where it was grown.”
For the curious, there will be hundreds of pours to satisfy every taste at the ZinEX Grand Tasting in San Francisco from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Pier 27. For tickets and details about the ZAP rollout of events, visit zinfandel.org.
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-521-5310.
Wine, The Press Democrat
Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.